LOWER THE HAY
Hay racks and nets can help keep a stall floor tidy and reduce waste, but they can contribute to a few health problems.
For one thing, feeding hay from elevated holders increases a horse’s risk of eye irritation. As horses pull mouthfuls of hay from the rack, they stir up dust and debris, right at the level of their eyes. This can lead to scratched corneas0 and conjunctivitis0. Eating with a raised head also limits the natural drainage of a horse’s airway, which can contribute to respiratory conditions such as heaves. Wetting hay fed from a net or rack can reduce both of these risks, but you’ll need to make sure it’s eaten before it dries.
Feeding hay from the stall floor is the simplest way to avoid these problems but that’s not always feasible. And simply hanging racks and nets lower isn’t advisable because of the potential for entanglement and injury. With some creativity, however, you can come up with a workable solution. Consider anchoring a large, sturdy plastic trash can or muck bucket in one corner of the stall with baling twine. You can fill it with hay to contain the mess, but still allow a more natural “heads down” feeding position. You’ll need to be vigilant about checking the can daily for manure contamination and wildlife and also clean it regularly.